A windy place.

young adult old soul magic realism writing
Art by: Unknown artist

I am enjoying having lunch alone, under the swaying palm trees ripe with the promise of tranquillity, in the windy corridor between building A and B.

I love being here at odd lunch hours, it really cements what this place is about: nebulousness, off-the-mapness, in-betweens. It is the liminal space between the work world and individual life, a bridge where, crossing between two buildings, you stop being an employee for a hot second, the kind that can spill into infinity. You enter building A a worker, spill out into the windy corridor all-too human, all-too much of a star, all-too other and foreign even to yourself. Your self stretches out as though an accordion to showcase its multiple intricate layers, and the palm trees take you away to bygone summers. You are not a name on the payroll before you enter building B. No, you are an in-between, a free spirit. You become a kaleidoscope of yourself and the corridor is the light that shines so it may exist. You don’t think about work, you wonder about possibilities: maybes, perhapses, what-ifs.

I love going there for lunch at around 13:00 (start-up mentality lets me have lunch when I want basically) when the courtyard is free and deserted. For an hour long, it is all mine. Even now during the winter time, when it is too cold to be out, when common sense calls for warmth and safety, I somehow still find myself making my way to this windy place, peering through the gaps between the fronds of the palm trees to catch a look at a strip of sky or moving cloud.

1 p.m finds me gazing into the windows of building A, watching the reflection of clouds pass along one window, disappear into the concrete between the other window, then re-emerge into the next one.

Lunch tastes different too.

My senses are focused, attuned, at peace. I am in the moment as my nails dig into the fragrant skin of a clementine, peeling it and pulling out each plump, juicy wedge translucent with the promise of sweet citrusyness. And the spaghetti tasted more of home than tomatoes, every bite a step further inwards to the cherished, overgrown garden of memories. And oh, the melon iced tea in its glass bottle that tasted so sweetly, so gently of summer.

I wish I had brought a book with me today. It is this wondrous, ordinary-looking setting that has witnessed my exploring of “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. It is here that I have found myself over and over in his words and even in the spaces between them.

I am going to miss this when I leave one day, invariably. And even as I tell myself that this is neither here nor there, I am reminded that half the year has already passed and that I may well be leaving too soon.


Note: Alternate title for this blog post: “The one where I make up all the words.”😂

A happy place.

Writing escapril magic realism young adult old soul pascal campion
Art by : Pascal Campion

Their encounter, the summer they had spent together —caught in between afternoon siestas under flowering bougainvillae and warm beaches stirring under summer’s breath— could all be summed up in one moment. It was like accidentally looking into the sun with naked eyes — they were too tender, and the light scalding. Neither of them could hold that light, burning and fierce with the will to live.

Looking back, their relationship (the nature of which neither he nor she could ever bring themselves to settle on— “romantic” seemed too cheap a word for what they shared, “friendship” left a lot uncovered) had happened, in its entirety, in that instant. The one that leaves you momentarily blind, that catches you unaware before you can even think to turn away or flinch. A moment in life when you stumble into something you cannot handle.

The light pierced through their tender hearts as though fragile retinas, burning holes in them every chance encounter, every stolen moment. They snapped away, for the first time feeling the true burn of their encounter, when the first cool night settled in the all-consuming heat of the summer, first her, then him. The gravity of their common mistake fell over their heads like a bucket of ice water, extinguishing any hope of deciphering that odd relationship.

Years later, when they would meet again in a crowded street in some foreign city, passing each other by, they would not know where these burns came from, except from a summer a long time ago, on an island already subsumed by the water. What once was a happy place.


Note: This is an entry for Escapril day 19.

Today, as it is.

Young Adult Old Soul Writing Magic Realism

So naturally pink! It looks like the sky has been dyed in cotton candy colours, like you could reach out, pluck a piece of the sky and put it in your mouth. It is the exact shade I rave about endlessly in my blog posts and I cannot get enough of it.

I tried going up the roof to capture that colour without any inconvenience, but it just did not look the same. And I found myself being grateful for being exactly where I was in life. I was suddenly grateful for how the whole day had gone, for how it lead up to me looking up at the right place, at the right time to witness that sky.

Most days I have so many regrets. So many forever unanswered what-ifs that taunt me. Yet today, I was grateful to be just where I was. And to have been where I have been because without it, without the good and the bad, I would not have today, as it is.

Young Adult Old Soul Writing Magic Realism


Note : I realise on certain screens the pink colour does not really appear. Plus, I’m not really a photographer either so bear with me kindly.

Listening to :

A greenhouse in the city. (2/2)

“I find myself stilling and leaning towards the light, too, yearning to feel its warmth nourish my blemished skin, caress my closed eyelids and slide down the panes of my upturned, trusting (vulnerable, so vulnerable) face.”

heik
Art by : Heikala

The city takes me to her tenderest places, where trees are still saplings and their foliage bursts like foam into the air, trapping errant bits of sunlight in their nooks.

Did you know that even a city as busy as mine could hold peace and light within its midst ? That it could be one part teeming thoroughfares, the cacophony of a thousand lives and one part silence, reflection ? The city provides a sanctuary from herself; a place that is pure and untouched, like a greenhouse where young and diseased plants may grow. Where they can be cured of the smog tainting their leaves, the carbon monoxide stuck to their waxy surface.

I find myself stilling and leaning towards the light, too, yearning to feel its warmth nourish my blemished skin, caress my closed eyelids and slide down the panes of my upturned, trusting (vulnerable, so vulnerable) face. I want to feel young again and pure. To cleanse myself of these deep-rooted impurities : self-deprecation, insecurities, absorbed toxicity. I want to uproot these baobabs of fear that have crawled under my skin, their roots tightening around my feebly-beating heart, feeding off of it. Underneath all that crap, my heart is still young, tender, tender like it was 10 years ago. There is innocence left somewhere in it. And dreams for days on end.

This is how life feels like a movie again.

Flowing with otherworldly gentleness, a crystal-clear stream flows under the overarching roots of a centenarian tree, carrying its yellowed leaves. All the sounds of the city (the honking, shouting and engine roars) slow and fade, submerged in that singular stream, seeming so far away… All you hear, marvellously, is the sound of the water running by. But it’s not really running, you know ? It glides by, or strolls. Its flow is leisurely, unhurried ; it knows exactly where it needs to be and how to get there, so there is no rush, no anxiety, no what-if-I-don’t-make-its and no fear of missing out.

It just is —something I struggle to do everyday of my life.

Like this though, the blood inside my body stops rushing, gushing, hurrying and instead blissfully, oh-so blissfully flows with the stream. Somewhere in the distance, someone has hit the rewind button or played with the speed settings because my whole being slows and settles with that small body of water, running strolling its course. No longer am I swimming against the currents, gasping through the throngs of people and the weight of their unfulfilled dreams. I just flow with the water, somewhere in the city.

Somewhere in my beautiful city.


Listening to :

A greenhouse in the city. (1/2)

“You have to duck a little if you want to daydream too, at least if you don’t want your iridescent bubbles to get caught in the stark black powerlines.”

plantyyyyyyy

Art by : Unknown Artist

I watched most of my teens go by, like a bad movie that made me cringe too much.

Now, in my 20s, life is a movie where someone else is endlessly playing with the controls, fast-forwarding through the boring weekday bits : the content-adding drudgery, the repetitive daydreaming of similar scenarios, the nameless longing. Fast-forwarding through the week, I am propelled into the weekend, a rocketship strapped to my back, flying effortlessly past Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays.

The dates on the calendar pass me in a blur, tiny and unrecognisable, like houses when you’re up high on a mountain or on a plane. Did we just pass this neighbourhood ? I could ask. I go ’round and ’round the same weeks, a wave of fresh amnesia hitting as I round the corner of yet another Monday. Then I stumble with burning feet into the weekend, pulse still racing, my body gearing for that fast-forward, that breakneck pace.

I am gushing unspent energy all over the place, pacing with a fury. All my energy brings me out into the city, my city. This brouhaha of smoke clouds and business, where all roads begin and all roads end, where so many paths intersect that you have to be careful not to get your feet all tangled up in other people’s overlapping lives. You have to duck a little if you want to daydream too, at least if you don’t want your iridescent bubbles to get caught in the stark black powerlines. It’s like Icarus’ conundrum : go too low and you will never take off, get too high and you will burn down.

My city, my old city welcomes me like a daughter, like she welcomes the thousands, millions that came to her at all times of days and nights —like a lighthouse during a storm, she is a refuge to many a soul lost at sea.

My footsteps echo through her alleyways the same as they’ve been doing for so many years now. Slowly, she drinks  in my restlessness, the fury seeping through my feet to her very heart, where she no doubt redistributes it to the other high-strung people in her purview.

The city takes me to her tenderest places, where trees are still saplings and…


 

Caught in Time

“It’s magic, you know; it’s got to be. Maybe it’s just magic we take for granted, and that’s why we can’t see it.”

9
Art by: 9jedit

 

Life has really been moving forward lately. Left and right, I suppose it is that period in one’s life where big changes happen. Friends are getting married, moving away, working big jobs, travelling, falling in love. And for once, I have not been assigned to the bleachers : I am doing things I didn’t think I would ever get to do.

I am moving, moving, moving.

Until, that is, I reach the village caught in time.

It is somewhere I have not been in a good number of years : 10, maybe 11. I can still see myself there, flared jeans and a pink plaid shirt, unruly hair braided, sticking out in gravity-defying tendrils. No glasses, that was the time when wearing them was bothersome, when they had not yet become a refuge. The eyes not weighed down by dark circles, by loss or obscurity skimmed all around like a hummingbird buzzing with energy. A still tender face gazed upward, mesmerised even then by that light. The one that escapes through the branches and leaves of the trees overhead, falling generously like a waterfall, the glorious golden light shifting the way water scintillates.

No time has passed since then.

Everything has stayed much the same, as though I had only left the village for a few hours and had returned somewhat older, but not for long. The place strips me of my years, these weights that have been shoved in my hands that I do not know what to do with. Even now, being older than 20, I still feel a little bit 19. I am still approaching my twenties as though an alien notion. Comparing the 20-year-olds I’d met at 13 to the me from now. They seemed so much more advanced in life than I am, so much more grown-up. Doubtless though they were enduring the same inner turmoil.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m the only one like that.

But who cares about that when you’re 11 and are in a village surrounded by never-ending streams, where seabirds land and take off every other hour; where there is a perfect open space, made to fly kites in. I will be like that sunlight too, I will scatter into a thousand lights, not stopping to warm the foliage and instead dancing with the wind.

I have a small theory about this village. I think it’s not actually real all the time. Sometimes it vanishes for years. You could drive here and at times find only a mound of dust, and no sign of homely houses, of pastoral beauty. It detaches from the earth and flies away, mooring itself to a town with an ocean view for a little while. Wouldn’t that explain the seabirds after all? Maybe they carry it on their backs when they migrate. Who can be sure? I do not know how else to explain it, how this village is so lost in time.

Or how it takes away the years as though they were layers of rust hiding something much younger than it actually looks. It’s magic, you know; it’s got to be. Maybe it’s just magic we take for granted, and that’s why we can’t see it.


Note : This is Day 6 of my NaNoWriMo writing challenge. I’m a bit late this year, but it’s a little harder with work now and trying to figure out publishing times, too. But I’ll try my best to catch up this weekend ! 🙂

Under the shade of centenerian trees

“In nature though, it is the opposite that happens : you breathe out the smell of the city, expunge its taste from your tongue; you cough out the second-hand cigarette smoke and carbon monoxide and gorge your lungs with crisp air from down by the stream.”

heikalaa
Art by : Heikala

I am rather short in stature, and most days I stare with murderous intent at anyone who dares notice the fact out loud.

Even so, there are days when I dream to be much smaller than I already am. So that I may slip through the bars of reality and expectations, through the blinds barring the windows at work, straight into a refreshing stream sparkling with sunlight. I would lie on my back like I’ve done innumerable times at sea, let myself get carried away and just stare up at the skies until my eyes water and I have to blink away the tears, to look away from the blinding light of the sun. How wonderful would it be to gaze up from the passing stream to find masses of leaves rustling with the wind — helping to hide you from the eyes of the world— instead of the vast openness of the sky at sea and sunlight piercing streaks through gaps in the foliage.

Then, a large, waxy leaf would gently detach from a branch, fluttering quietly, anonymously to the ground, down into the stream. And quite naturally, I would reach for it, climb on its veined surface and rest, whilst tracing over the sinewy marks branching away from its centre. Limbs splayed out, drying under the sun, what would worries be but some faraway memory, like a muffled cry under the water?

The most beautiful part would be that no one would know. They might look for me at work, but I do think I’ve earned a day off. It would be a stolen moment then, deliciously anonymous. Lazy and slow, entirely too deliberate to be called a waste of time. Moments like these are called “Nurturing your soul”, filling it with peace; not having to remind it to take deep breaths and not suffocate on the city air. These moments are pockets of bagged oxygen floating in the smog of everyday life. Sometimes, you don’t realise you are being poisoned until you run into one of them, and it strikes you suddenly what you’ve been missing out on this whole time. In nature though, it is the opposite that happens : you breathe out the smell of the city, expunge its taste from your tongue; you cough out the second-hand cigarette smoke and carbon monoxide and gorge your lungs with crisp air from down by the stream.

You breathe it all out in clear bags and send it flying to a black hole ways beyond, at the ends of Time.

I could bring a book, too. Or my sketch book and some watercolour. And cool peach iced tea sloshing in a mason jar mug, droplets of condensation rushing to the bottom. Maybe there could be a few music notes too, floating over my head.

I could hang onto them and fly away for a little while under the shade of centenarian trees.


Note : This is NaNoWriMo Day 4. I couldn’t publish it on time because of some setbacks. Day 5 is coming soon ! 🙂 Meanwhile, you can read my entry for Day 3.